Powering a new generation of energy systems: Artemis Intelligent Power wins the UK’s premier engineering prize

HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, last night presented the UK’s longest running and most prestigious prize for engineering innovation to a team from Artemis Intelligent Power. Managing Director Dr Niall Caldwell, Operations Director Pierre Joly, Chairman Dr Win Rampen FREng, Non-Executive Director Professor Stephen Salter FRSE and Chief Engineer Dr Uwe Stein were announced as the winners of the 2015 Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award at the Academy’s annual Awards Dinner at the Landmark Hotel in London. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh is the Academy’s Senior Fellow.

Known for spotting the ‘next big thing’ in the technology sector, the MacRobert Award identifies outstanding innovation with proven commercial success and tangible social benefit. As well as gaining from the prestige of the award, the winners receive a gold medal and a £50,000 prize.

Edinburgh-based Artemis has pioneered a new Digital Displacement® power system, with digitally controlled hydraulics, that that has the potential to transform the viability of offshore wind power and low carbon transportation. As well as dramatically improving power capacity, the smart, modular system has been designed to overcome the significant reliability issues associated with existing turbines. Artemis is already delivering world-leading systems, significantly improving turbine efficiency and, with it, the prospects for future exploitation of wind power.

Artemis is also applying the same technology to reduce the fuel consumption of commuter trains and buses. A regenerative braking energy storage system based on Digital Displacement® can be retrofitted to existing diesel commuter trains, and recent trials with Ricardo and Bombardier have shown that it can reduce fuel consumption by some 10%. The system also generates less noise and cuts exhaust emissions within stations.

Hybrid buses are also becoming more viable thanks to Digital Displacement®. Together with Lothian Buses and Alexander Dennis, Artemis has successfully demonstrated fuel savings of up to 27% on urban buses. Crucially, the new system provides bus operators with a 2-3 year payback without subsidies, making it globally affordable. Mainstream electric hybrid technology requires many expensive materials and processes, which can add 50% to the initial cost and means higher maintenance costs. This means that, despite saving fuel, hybrid buses have previously not made business sense without government subsidies. The Artemis system is made of common materials using regular processes, which significantly reduces the cost and means the systems can be maintained by existing staff.

Artemis was up against MacRobert Award finalists Cambridge-based Endomag, which was selected as a finalist for its breast cancer diagnostic tool that avoids the use of radioactive tracers in determining the spread of cancer through the lymphatic system; and Blackpool-based Victrex, for the development of advanced polymers in ultra-thin sheets for use in smartphone and tablet speakers.


The judging panel, representing the cream of modern British engineers and entrepreneurs from a range of disciplines, selected Artemis for its potential to help solve one of the most significant global challenges while demonstrating technical engineering excellence; its success is a story of both talent and determination, with unrelenting commitment to achieve the goal of making power systems significantly better.

Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng, Chair of the MacRobert Award judging panel, said “The Artemis story is truly compelling. The company has achieved a technical advance of global importance, making significant power delivery from offshore wind considerably more credible and realisable, and facilitating the global goal of reducing CO2 emissions. This is not simply evolutionary improvement but a complete step change, and one that took years of commitment to achieve.

“The Artemis Digital Displacement system is both an incredible piece of invention, and a brilliant example of detailed engineering design. It represents excellence in multiple facets of engineering, from control system technology to software and elegant mechanical design.


“The multidisciplinary engineering team within Artemis has produced a unique, world-beating product and is realising significant commercial success as a result. As a UK SME, Artemis represents the very best of modern UK engineering with global significance, which the Academy continues to champion through its Engineering for Growth campaign.”

Dr Gordon Masterton OBE FREng FRSE, a judging panel member and former Vice President of Jacobs Engineering, said "The Artemis system is a massive leap forward for hydraulically powered systems. The team has done for hydraulic engines what James Watt did for steam engines; they have totally transformed the efficiency and range of potential applications. "The largest floating wind turbine in the world is to be powered with a Digital Displacement transmission, and I strongly believe there are many other exciting applications for this stunning engineering breakthrough." 

Last year’s MacRobert Award winner, SME Cobalt Light Systems, won for the innovation behind an airport security liquid scanner that can now be found in over 65 airports throughout Europe. The same technology is also being used to detect counterfeit goods, and Cobalt is developing medical-grade systems that provide on-the-spot diagnosis of breast cancer and bone diseases such as osteoporosis.




Notes for Editors

1. About the MacRobert Award. First presented in 1969, the MacRobert Award is widely regarded as the most coveted in the industry – the ‘Oscars of Engineering’. Founded by the MacRobert Trust and supported by the Worshipful Company of Engineers, the Award is managed and presented by the Royal Academy of Engineering. For more information, visit: www.raeng.org.uk/prizes/macrobert

Previous winners include EMI Ltd, who in 1972 developed the CT Scanner, a vital medical device that can now be found in almost every hospital in the developed world. In 2002 Cambridge Display Technologies won the MacRobert Award for its light emitting polymer displays, which are now used extensively in televisions and smart phones. The 2013 winner was software company RealVNC, which judges predicted could be a billion dollar company within five years.


The judging panel for the MacRobert Award 2015 is as follows:

Dr Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng (Chair)

Consultant; Chair, Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board

John Baxter FREng FRSE

Group Head of Engineering, BP International Ltd; formerly Master, The Worshipful Company of Engineers

Nick Cooper FREng

Director, JN Cooper & Partners Ltd

Keith Davis

Chairman, The MacRobert Trust

Professor Sir Richard Friend FREng FRS

Cavendish Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge

Dr Andrew Herbert OBE FREng

Formerly Chairman, Microsoft Research EMEA; Emeritus Fellow, Wolfson College, Cambridge; Visiting Professor, UCL

Dr Gordon Masterton OBE FREng FRSE

Formerly Vice President, Jacobs Engineering; Visiting Professor, University of Edinburgh

Peter Saraga CBE FREng

Chairman of the Advisory Board, Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme

Dr Frances Saunders CB FREng

President, Institute of Physics; formerly Chief Executive, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)


2. About the Royal Academy of Engineering

As the UK’s national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering.

We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK’s role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK’s world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook.

We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.


For more information please contact: Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. 020 7766 0636; email: Jane Sutton